An anemometer is a device used for measuring wind speed and is also a common weather station instrument. The term is derived from the Greek word anemos, which means wind, and is used to describe any wind speed instrument used in meteorology. The first known description of an anemometer was given by Leon Battista Alberti in 1450.
The anemometer has changed little since its development in the 15th century. Leon Battista Alberti (1404–1472) is said to have invented the first mechanical anemometer around 1450. In the following centuries, numerous others, including Robert Hooke (1635–1703), developed their own versions, with some being mistakenly credited as the inventor. In 1846, John Thomas Romney Robinson (1792–1882) improved upon the design by using four hemispherical cups and mechanical wheels.
In 1926, Canadian meteorologist John Patterson (January 3, 1872 – February 22, 1956) developed a three-cup anemometer, which was improved by Brevoort and Joiner in 1935. In 1991, Derek Weston added the ability to measure wind direction. In 1994, Andrews Pflitsch developed the sonic anemometer.